Each time that Sirens Call Publications releases an anthology, we like to delve a little into the minds of the authors whose stories appear between the covers just to find out why that particular story line came to them. In Between the Cracks, twelve fantastic stories appear and each of the authors was asked to write a post sharing their inspiration for it. Seven authors answered the call… Next up is James C. Simpson, author of Distant Relations…
The Inspiration Behind Distant Relations
This story was inspired by a multitude of sources. I had always wanted to do something in the “mummy” genre since there are so few being made now. I had always envisioned doing a traditional one but knew that would be expected. So, I took inspiration from other works including obvious things such as Bram Stoker’s The Jewel Of The Seven Stars and the various mummy horrors concocted by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There’s also a bit of that hereditary horror so common in the work of Lovecraft, especially his underrated classic, Arthur Jermyn, which I have always been quite fond of. I would also have to include a nod to Karl Freund’s excellent 1932, The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff, a film that is surely one of the finest this genre has produced. That film’s poetic quality and romantic flair was certainly a major influence on this and other works.
My story has a sense of sadness and romance, as well as a common theme in much of my Gothics, isolation and loneliness. There’s a tinge of melancholy running through the piece that was likely a combination of all the Gothics I was absorbing at the time but also my own circumstances, finding myself moving and leaving my own family home of several decades. My favorite kind of horror has always been of the personal kind. Anyone can conjure up images of horror but the soul of the plot is another thing entirely. It’s no surprise that my favorite horror stories were always things like Frankenstein. I hope I have done a decent enough job in capturing that sort of prose that made that period, rather I should say, century of fantastic fiction, so indelible.
The story also follows the lineage of other sad romantic horrors that I have worked on including my first published work, The Seven Years Promise, which also concerns itself with a woman searching for her love well beyond death. I will not comment much on the personal connection such stories have for me. Any artist worth his/her salt uses their prospective canvas as a window into their soul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – James is a mysterious recluse from the wild mountains of Pennsylvania. He has had a lifelong fascination with the macabre, being particularly keen to the Gothic masters. When he is not writing a new tale of terror, he often finds himself enjoying the solitude of nature or the darkened realm of the cinema. His work can also be seen in several horror anthologies including “Undead Of Winter” and “Luna’s Children: Stranger Worlds.”
And here’s a little information about Between the Cracks…
A crack, a split, a rend, a tear – all of these fissures open up a new world for us to gaze upon. But what if the things we see aren’t friendly? What if the things that spill from beyond are dangerous and unwilling to be contained? What if evil lurks just below the surface waiting for its chance to strike?
In this collection of diverse and multi-faceted tales, you’ll find a computer program twisted into a nefarious tool, elves who are more than mischievous, a Creole House where those who dare to cheat fate meet with an unsavory end, and something evil lurking within the water. Are you brave enough to look Between the Cracks? There is only one way to find out…
Between the Cracks is available on:
And now for an excerpt from Distant Relations…
A story was told to me as a child about my uncle. He was an archaeologist and was often away in exotic locales and was seldom home. He had this great mansion which was nestled away up in the hills, away from the city. I had been there infrequently when I was younger, but do not recall much other than it was decorated with many strange and wonderful artifacts of his various ventures around the globe.
He was particularly keen on the subject of Egyptology and kept many things in his home from that far off land. Much of his research and expeditions were funded by the National museum and much of what he discovered was turned over to the museum; however he was known to keep a few items in his personal possession.
Among these artifacts was a peculiar necklace he often wore, an ankh, a symbol of the Egyptian faith, at least from what I understand. He wore it everywhere he went, much like a Christian would a crucifix. I’m not certain as to why he was so attached to said object, but I never remember him removing it in his lifetime.
He was a nervous and paranoid man, the little that I knew of him. He was uncommonly agitated and easily provoked into anger, bearing a short temper that many believed hid his inner most fears. For my uncle was a most fearful man. Something gnawed at his soul those last few years and he was heard to mumble in strange tongues, some believed they were ancient Egyptian curses and he tried to ward off invisible spirits that he claimed were taking him.
My father told me about this before he passed on, almost in embarrassment. He told me of my uncle’s prejudices and fears and something of his adventures. I heard stories about great tombs long untouched and of vast blackened depths underneath the sands of Egypt, where great treasures awaited discovery. He hinted at a romance that my uncle was said to have with a woman of Arab descent and how it plagued him after her rejection of him. She had been with him at the opening of the tombs and was his firm ally for several years, but they never married and no one ever saw her. I’m not even certain if she ever made it to the States.
My uncle loved her deeply, so much so, that he remained a bachelor his whole life. Father told me that he had both loved and feared her, for reasons unknown to him. I do believe that my father suspected her of some treacherous designs, though he scarcely admitted them to my uncle in his lifetime.
My father did not believe my uncle mad, even when he told me about the Mummy.
I had recalled hearing many tales of the supernatural growing up, but was never keen on them and never fancied myself superstitious, certainly not as much as my uncle, at least!
However, I do accept that anything is possible in this universe and will admit in a belief in spirituality and the eternal soul, so the idea of ghosts and specters is not out of the realms of probability.
My father was a serious man and was reserved much of his life. That’s not to say he could not be a warm and loving man, just a very stern man most of the time. He was entirely closed to flights of fancy and the supernatural, so he would be the last man that would ever confess to such beliefs…
Tune in tomorrow when we’ll hear from Tom Folske!